It has been an amazing first four weeks at Science Saturdays. We have found our home in the Couturie Forest. The hike to our forest classroom is as much fun as any activity in our classroom. This week when we arrived at our meeting spot someone had left large snail shells on our picnic table! There was much speculation as to how they ended up on the table and who lived in them before they got there. When we crossed the bridge Miss Danielle noticed five turtles or tortoises (verdict is still out as to the exact species) on a log. The log began to float away as we were watching but the turtles looked as if they were enjoying their journey.
We entered the forest stopping along the way to study fallen trees and watch ducks swim by. Finally we arrived at our classroom and set up for snack and our morning meeting. During story time two large pelicans flew right past Miss Karin! After sharing oranges, cheese and delicious bread we moved onto exploring our woods.
One group moved quickly into building mode. They began searching for the largest sticks they could find. After using strength and teamwork we collected quite a group of sticks and logs. There was some discussion about how to place the logs to make the walls of the house. Larry was concerned about a few sticks that were laying on the ground instead of standing up against the tree. John was quick to inform him that those were the windows and were supposed to be there. A few pieces of fabric made their way over to the fort building and they were placed as the beginning of a roof. Mister Ron found an old sheet and asked if the children would like to add it to the fort. It became an instant hit and children who were not interested in the fort before became enamored.
The other group went with Miss Danielle over to the deck overlooking the water. They approached quietly and came upon one of the pelicans perched on a pier in the water. After a brief discussion about what the pelican was doing there the children’s interest was quickly diverted into sinking and floating. There was a fierce search for things that might sink or float. Luke stopped Miss Clare to ask if she knew what stick would float. He had thrown in a stick that sunk right to the bottom but needed one that would float. When asked “ what does a stick that floats looks like?” Luke quickly declared that it had to be a big stick. “Was the stick that sunk heavy or light?” Miss Clare enquired. “That stick was heavy. Maybe I need a light stick.” He then began to pick up sticks of varying sizes to test their weight. When he found one that seemed right he ran to the water and tossed it in. With much excitement he informed all his friends that the stick did indeed float.
Below is a video of our sinking and floating experiment. Note the open ended questions that Mr. Ron uses to prompt thoughts and predictions.
A few friends wanted to continue exploring the woods so Miss Karin took a small group on a hike. They found a path that led a small wooden bridge. Miss Karin thought there might be a troll that lived under the bridge. After close investigation the Eddie, John, and Emerson found tiny snail shells and began to collect them and lay them out on top of the bridge. Amelia, Beau, Eleanor, and Leo took up the idea of the troll under the bridge and began to act out the story of the Billy Goats Gruff. This is a fun new expansion to our original spot. The more time we spend out here the further we will be able to explore!
One of our traditions at NOLA Nature School is to say hello and goodbye to the four directions to start and end our day. Each time a different child is in charge of the compass. We learn how to read the compass and appreciate the directions that guide us back home. Here is a video of our last goodbye of the session.
Thank you for a wonderful first session of Science Saturdays! We look forward to the further adventures! Here are a few more highlights from our fun filled last day.